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NY Trip Retroblog: Tuesday July 3rd

NY Trip Retroblog: Tuesday July 3rd

Altitude adjustment and silky skills

Leaving Swerd to tidy his flat and sort out some lawyery stuff (please forgive the technical legal jargon). I jumped on the subway and headed north to the only thing really high on my list of tourist activities: The Empire State Building, also known as "The Empire f**king State Building, baby". Wow. It is, of course, basically just a very, very tall building but, even so, the weather was gorgeous and the view spectacular. Central Park lies to the north, as do the skyscrapers of Midtown; to the south is the skyscraper cluster of the financial district, including that quintessential NY landmark, the World Trade Center. Brooklyn and Queens to the east, Noo Joizey to the west. And in the middle of it all, me with a large grin on my face.

The first subway train I got on, actually, was another NY moment. An orthodox jew, reading a Hebrew text, sat on the bench opposite me. It was a scene straight out of Pi, and I was half expecting to find a throbbing human brain on the steps up from the platform at the next stop, but sadly not. I would have grinned, but I was too busy keeping my head down, trying to look like a nonchalant local and not a clueless tourist.

Next was Macy's, Madison Square Garden and the Jacob K. Javits (sounds a bit like Lenny Kravitz) Convention Center (girders and struts, the whole thing). Wandering the streets was great - no particular plan, no schedule, no hassle. It just felt nice to be a part (however fresh-faced and transitory) of a different city, orienting myself slowly, getting a feel for the grid system. Boy could Tokyo do with a street-naming convention like that - almost any effing system at all would be a start, actually. Then I caught the F-train (F for funky) back to Jon's, where he was busy configuring Betsy's new iBook. Hi Betsy.

Then something very exciting happened. We went up to Union Square for a bit of people-watching, only for me to discover that de la Guarda were playing at the Daryl Roth Theatre. Nigel raved about these guys after seeing them twice in London a couple of years ago. He mentioned getting home to discover a plastic toy aeroplane lodged in his shirt pocket, which is good enough for me. I hadn't realised they were based in NY, so that was pure serendipity at work. Bought two tickets for Thursday night, and rolled on our way. Smile increasing steadliy.

Went to Spa for a "networking" event supposedly sponsored by some new media organisation. There was a free bar - somewhere in front of the massive throng of people trying desperately to get to it, anyway, but no noticeable networking. Arse. I had my "yes, I'm missing my First Tuesday meeting to be here, y'know" line all worked out, but to no avail.

We decided not to bother with the queues and just waited for the freeness to end. Sure enough, the crowds thinned shortly afterwards. ("You mean I have to pay? Awww, damn.") I did distinctly see one guy introduce another guy to a third guy, though, so maybe the place wasn't entirely full of seventeen-year-olds with faked IDs, marvelling at their luck on wandering in on a free bar. Jon had a schmooze with a wireless guy, too, so it wasn't completely a lost cause. We put it down to the death of dotcom and moved on.

On to No Idea (tagline: "What did you do last night?" "No Idea!" a-haaar - geddit? Thought so) to meet some Swerdpals: Aaron, Chris (a she-Chris), Bethany and Morgan, all of whom were in the back room, dominating the pool table and making ass-slapping movements. Fun.

I teamed up with Jon and we added our names to the winner-stays-on list. Morgan and Bethany were playing against a couple of pricks, real dickheads. Pop quiz: You're playing against a couple of girls who appear to have the normal number of ears between them and are fair, if not phenomenal pool players. Do you a) just play them b) take the piss out of them within clear earshot? If you answered (b), then you deserve to have people take exception. Jon and I stepped up against them, and I have to say that we rather whipped the shit out of them. I'm not that great at pool, but I do have my moments - and I especially love taking down the arrogant ones. Then we must have lost to Aaron and Chris, both of whom are excellent players.

I think we came up against the same wankers as before a bit later, but my memory of the exact order of things is a little blurred. I played one dull safety shot in that game, rather than risk fouling, and dickwad #1 said something like, "What, do you file that under 'P' for pussy shot?" I bit my tongue, then he missed possibly the easiest shot in the world. I asked him rather sweetly where I could find that in the filing cabinet. God, my rapier wit will get me in trouble one of these days. Jon in particular surprised himself by playing out of his skin and making two lovely shots in a row to take us to the 8-ball, which he then doubled straight into the middle pocket. Attaboy and buh-bye again, assholes.

We played them a third time, I know, by which time we were really trying to leave. I got a number of nice shots, took us to a nasty cut on the black, sank it without hesitation... only for the frigging white to go in off two cushions. Damn. A present for the assholes. Jon and the others were like, "Excellent! Now we go before we get in a fight, Chris... nice one, by the way, genius shot... very elegant... this way... very good... say bye-bye to the nice wankers" but it would have been so sweet to win and then just concede the table. Jon was more than happy with losing the match to get us out of there, so we left - or rather the group left, dragging me with it - muttering to myself, I shouldn't wonder.

A very good night, though, ending as we did with a drink at Tribe and a plan to join Aaron, Bethany and Morgan on a trip to the Bronx Zoo the next day. More about that tomorrow. I can feel the jetlag starting to kick in... yaaaaawwwwwwn... g'night.

Posted by chris at July 10, 2001 11:23 PM | Permalink

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